At the beginning of April, Grace and I began an effort to decentralize the Kiva process at Pearl. This is the formal way of saying that we planned to visit the branches and carry out a training program that would make the Kiva process such that we would no longer be required to rip our skirts, miss spending time with our families and friends and spend 4-8 hours per day bumping along the roads of Uganda in taxis (the minibuses that Grace wrote about in a previous post).Continue Reading >>
Stories tagged with All
by Kieran Ball, KF6 & 7
“Poor people are like bonsai trees”, analogises Professor Mohammad Yunus, “Even choosing the best seed of the tallest tree, if you plant it in a small flower pot it cannot grow big. Society is the flower pot, the system we have built that keeps poor people from growing. The seed of the person is as good as the tallest tree, but we must change the system to let each person grow to their potential.”
Whilst Professor Yunus failed to mention that bonsai trees look totally hip on most coffee tables, this is still my all...Continue Reading >>
I’ve just arrived at my fourth and final placement as a Kiva Fellow. Less than two weeks ago I was wrapping up work with ADEPHCA in Nicaragua and, following a week of whirlwind travel through southwestern Nicaragua, I arrived to start my first week with EDESA in Costa Rica. Based on initial impressions, ADEPHCA and EDESA have very little in common other than the fact they are both identified by somewhat confusing acronyms and are both quite small organizations in the world of microfinance. But that is where the similarities end. ADEPHCA is based out of Bluefields, Nicaragua: a town of...Continue Reading >>
As if volleyball and soccer were not challenging enough, imagine playing these sports in long skirts, dress shoes and traditional hats that barely stay on your head in the slightest wind. I have been to and played in sports tournaments my entire life, but until last week I had never experienced a tournament like this!
As a Kiva Fellow working with the Microfinance Institution (MFI), Manuela Ramos, I have the privilege of attending not only community bank meetings, where groups of women come together to take out small loans, but also community events that are meant to empower women...Continue Reading >>
Over tiny cups of scalding, frothy sugar water that Senegalese people call “tea,” I have a chance daily to sit around with my fellow MFI employees and talk microfinance. The other day, I was sipping my tea with Moussa, a loan officer, and he told me about how credit is established in Senegal. Now, in America, a credit rating is a logical thing, based on the percent of your total credit you’re using, the type, duration and size of your credits, and your...Continue Reading >>
Today is my last day as a Kiva Fellow working in Guatemala City. I will admit that in recent weeks my mind has been wandering to the luxuries of home: ethnic food, safe and timely public transportation, dishwashers, smog laws, etc… But as always, when leaving a new “home”, I know that I will miss the experiences and friendships that I have been lucky enough to experience while here.
As one of my fellow Kiva Fellows pointed out in an earlier post, we fellows tend to receive credit for the support that all of you lenders are really giving. I wish I could offer you one of the glasses...Continue Reading >>
After almost two months living in Puno, Peru and after a few embarrassing moments when tourists I encountered asked me for advice about visiting Lake Titicaca and I had to sheepishly admit that I hadn’t yet embarked, I decided it was time to make the trip. In my defense, I had been waiting for the rainy season to pass and for someone to go with. Luckily, last weekend both my prerequisites were met.
Through a Kiva connection, I met a fellow microfinance worker, Zoe, who was conducting surveys on microfinance interest rates in Puno. In the good and admittedly much needed company of...Continue Reading >>
I am living in Kisumu, Kenya. Here is a picture of the street where I volunteer, in the Nyalenda slum.
Walking around the slum, one quickly comes across evidence of the post election violence. Burned buildings are common. As are random herds of goats.
White people in Kisumu are usually in self-contained SUVs. Not too many ever enter the Nyalenda slum. As a result, as I walk, I am usually chased by children.
If I stay in one place for too long, they gather to stare.
In the slum, you find many teenage girls. Their stories show...Continue Reading >>
The other day, I walked around Saida‘s old town in southern Lebanon and just soaked in the mood of the place. The old town is far removed from the modern part of the city where cars dominate. Here, people go about their business in the narrow streets and interact in a far more intimate space. Tourists are just beginning to discover the place, though they rarely go much deeper than the soap museum on its outskirts.
A number of NGOs have been involved in this part of town for years, where the level of poverty tends to be quite a bit higher than the national level. Also, the...Continue Reading >>
I have always wanted to write something about our transport system and the huddles involved for one to get to work early and let it be printed in the papers but again part of my mind said why not for us here! Eeh before I forget, taxi are the matatus we use here in Uganda, while ‘Maaso awo’ means find the next stage for me to get off.
As a Kiva Coordinator, Pearl Microfinance, the work I do involves a lot of movements with so many hardships, but if all this is to be added on to the messy taxis, traffic jams and the rude taxi operators especially the conductors, then my day will be...Continue Reading >>